We have two miniature pincher dogs in our home, Cuddles and Snickers, and they are frequently subject of posts on this blog site because of their continued antics.
We love them and think of them as our canine children. And, like our human children and grandchildren, they push the limits at times and we have to say “don’t you do it!”
This morning was an example of what happens in our home at mealtime. When we eat at the dining room table, the dogs, also known as “the girls”, are to be in their “place”. That is to say, they are to be sitting or laying down on the living room sofa until we finish our meal. Then, we say: “You’re through,” and they come bounding off the sofa for their good girl treats.
This morning, Snickers didn’t want to wait for the magic words; rather, she was impatient and jumped down off the sofa. She does this softly, anticipating that I would not notice and I probably would not except for one thing.
My place at the table faces the sofa. So, I can see her every movement. The routine is this: she jumps down, I say “Uh, uh, don’t you do it,” she trots in a loop around the coffee table, and jumps back up on the sofa. She may remain there until we say the magic words that lead to the jump off the sofa and the treat, or she may not. If not, I can see her and I repeat my admonition “Uh, uh, don’t you do it”.
This morning, when I said those words, I thought of God’s Word. God instructs us how to live and how to behave in our world, in accordance with His desires for us to be obedient children, but there are many times that He has to say (in essence): “Uh, uh, don’t you do it!:.
In Genesis 2:16-17, God gave this admonition:
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Can’t you just hear: “Don’t you do it.” We know that God’s command was summarily ignored after the serpent successfully tempted Adam and Eve to sin. Genesis chapter 3.
In Exodus we read of the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:3-,5, 7, 13-17, and we see that they are a series of admonishments from God that are to be followed and most have “you shall not:” appended to them.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them… 7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain… 13 “You shall not murder. 14 “You shall not commit adultery. 15 “You shall not steal. 16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 “You shall not covet … anything that is your neighbor’s.”
God is clearly telling us “Don’t you do it!”
The prophet Jeremiah spoke these words from the Lord God warning that the people had not obeyed His words and punishment would be the result:
“But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day. Yet they did not listen to me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers. So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you. And you shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the LORD their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.’”
There are consequences to disobeying God’s commands. Rest assured, you may not see the consequence immediately after your disobedience, but it will eventually catch up with you, either in this life or the next. Judgment will come, it will be swift, and its result will be non-negotiable.
Just as I see the “girls’” movements on the sofa, God sees us every moment of every day. He is omniscient and omnipresent. We can’t fool God; He knows our heart’s motive and what we re going to say even before we day it. Psalm 139.
“Uh, uh, don’t do it!” is a warning for us to heed. Sometimes the warning comes when we are reading God’s Word. Sometimes He speaks to us in that still small voice that is our Shepherd’s trustworthy voice. Indeed, Jesus said that His sheep know His voice and follow Him. John 10:27. Sometimes it is our conscience telling us to avoid that misstep, that sin, that trap. Sometimes the warning comes in the form of godly advice from a Christian brother or sister, pastor or elder.
God issues the warning and desires that we should heed it. Obedience brings rich rewards, and the discipline of obedience is worthy of our continued effort to grow in maturity as we seek to be transformed into the image of our Lord and Savior. Make obedience a priority in this new year!
Father, I thank You that we receive warnings when we are about to go astray against your commandment. Train my ear to hear Your warnings so that I do not go against Your will. Good Shepherd, l pray that I would have me the strength and will to be an obedient sheep.